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Children Damaged by Materialism

A recent study discussed in BBC Health News:

Children ‘damaged’ by materialism

Some 89% of adults think children are more materialistic than ever

Most adults in the UK believe that children’s well-being is being damaged because childhood has become too commercial, a lifestyle poll has found. Some 89% of adults in the GfK NOP survey of 1,255 people believed today’s children were more materialistic than previous generations.

The poll is one of the contributions to a continuing inquiry into childhood.

The Children’s Society said adults had to “take responsibility for the current level of marketing to children”.

Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of the society, said: “A crucial question raised by the inquiry is whether childhood should be a space where developing minds are free from concentrated sales techniques.

“To accuse children of being materialistic in such a culture is a cop-out,” he said.

Mr Reitemeier said: “Unless we question our own behaviour as a society we risk creating a generation who are left unfulfilled through chasing unattainable lifestyles.”

The children’s market is worth an estimated £30 bn a year.

As chief executive of the National Schools Partnership, Mark Fawcett brings business and marketing into schools, and he believes you cannot shield children from the real world.

“We have to live in the current communications era where children can see a huge amount of information,” he told BBC TV news. “We have to use our judgement and we have to, as an industry, make sure we are working with children and families, and not exploiting them.”

Selling lifestyles

The evidence on lifestyle is part of a six-part series of investigations published by the Children’s Society for a continuing inquiry into childhood in the UK which brings together the views of academics, religious communities, teachers, local authorities and authors.

Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is patron of the inquiry, said: “Children should be encouraged to value themselves for who they are as people rather than what they own. “The selling of lifestyles to children creates a culture of material competitiveness and promotes acquisitive individualism at the expense of the principles of community and co-operation.”

Comment: It’s not just children. We are ALL damaged when we start to measure ourselves by what we own. You can read the entire article Here.

February 28, 2008 - Posted by | Character, Community, Cross Cultural, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, News, Social Issues, Spiritual


  1. this study should be applied to kuwaiti children.

    Comment by Mrm | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  2. US kids – and adults, too. 😦 I know I am vulnerable from time to time.

    Comment by intlxpatr | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  3. My daughter did an interesting paper on marketing to children in the US and how it affects all kinds of things like the self image issues. It plays on the idea that “if only I had that, I would be happy”. Of course, the mere obtaining of whatever doesn’t make the person happy so the spiral continues downward. Could be a player in all kinds of kids psychological issues.

    Comment by momcat | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  4. This is in the core essence of western materialism without it your society cannot function. it is an industry, an industry create jobs, people earn money, people spend money. this is how it goes.

    Comment by error | February 29, 2008 | Reply

  5. Momcat – “If only I had that, I would . . . ” be happy, be popular, find the love of my life, be successful . . .they really know how to pull our strings.

    Error – You are right, except that it is a western phenomenon. I see it almost everywhere I go. It seems to be a part of human nature, that we can believe that things will make us happy.

    Comment by intlxpatr | February 29, 2008 | Reply

  6. Is it such a surprise? We are a consumer-oriented society, and by consuming western materialisms we’re actually more prone be just like.

    Comment by The Aggressor | February 29, 2008 | Reply

  7. I think, Aggressor, we all think some things are true, and it is important to measure and learn if what we think is true is true. Then we can make choices to change. Even awareness of how we are motivated and manipulated can help, don’t you think?

    Comment by intlxpatr | February 29, 2008 | Reply

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